Congolese music star Koffi Olomide cleared of rape, convicted of kidnap
Written by Derrick Asaba on December 14, 2021
The Rumba and Soukous music star Antoine Agbepa Mumba alias Koffi Olomide has been cleared of sexually assaulting four of his former dancers by an appeals court in France.
The Versailles Court in France pronounced the verdict on December 13, overturning a 2019 ruling that found him guilty of the statutory rape of one of the dancers when she was 15.
However, the 65-year-old musician has been convicted of holding women against their will thus depriving them of their liberty at a villa in Paris between 2002 and 2006.
Even though the public prosecutor had called for a minimum sentence of eight years, Olomide is to serve an 18-month suspended sentence and pay them compensation.
“His accusers would obviously be disappointed about the sexual assault verdicts because for them this was the most important thing,” BBC quoted lawyer David Desgranges who was representing three of the women.
One of them had alleged he had assaulted them in hotels, sometimes in the cars and in recording studios. These women were former members of his Quartier Latin band.
The court in Versailles did not find Olomide guilty of sexual assault, with the judge overturning the rape charge over ‘changing and sometimes contradictory’ evidence from his accusers.
“The truth may take time, but it always ends up triumphant. Those who wanted my career to end, going to live my career… The G.O.A.T,” Olomide posted on his official Facebook page after the verdict was made.
However the court found his actions saw the women “deprived of all liberties and constantly watched” by two of his accomplices who shut them in a room with the blinds drawn.
In addition to the suspended sentence he was ordered to pay a fine of 10,000-32,000 Euros ($11,000-36,000) to each dancer.
Initially, the Nanterre court gave him a two-year suspended sentence instead of the seven-year prison sentence requested by the prosecution. The star had appealed against the sentence and the Versailles court’s verdict came when the Congolese star had already left France.
The singer rejected the accusations of his former dancers and said that, “the dream of the young women who accuse him was to live in France and obtain papers from associations,” adding that the “women are very well protected”.
The singer has been in trouble with the law several times before, for instance Zambia ordered his arrest after he allegedly assaulted a photographer in 2018.
In 2016 he was arrested and deported after he assaulted one of his dancers in Kenya. He was convicted in DR Congo of assaulting his producer and received a three-month suspended prison sentence in 2012.
In 2008 he was accused of kicking a cameraman from DR Congo’s private RTGA television station and breaking his camera at a concert, but the two were later reconciled.